Italy, the dreaded banana skin of the 6 Nations, fells a stunned Ireland.
Gerry Thornley holding back his tears wrote:
The most dejected trudge yet from the dressingroom to the coaches in the tunnel of the Stadio Olympico fittingly resembled another scene from MASH. A dazed and Luke Marshall followed by Keith Earls, his arm tucked under his tracksuit top. Luke Fitzgerals went by on crutches, his leg entirely encased. The ravages of the Six Nations campaign will be felt for some time.
A host of new men have been thrust into this ravaged squad, with the carnage of Saturday providing them with scenarios that they could not of imagined or experiencing in their fledgling careers to date…
Ireland’s Call, it makes you wonder how it ever got there, who it was slipped it into the rugby fixture list, who it was decided it would remain part of the rugby experience and force fed to 50,000 people before every home Six Nations Championship match.
A sop to the Ulster players, who won’t singAmhrán na bhFiann because it’s not their anthem, Ireland’s Call has found a place alongside fracking and puppy farms as plain wrong….
From champions to wooden spoon recipients in the space of a year.
At least Edmund van Esbeck was jovial, he wrote:
Often enough in Ireland’s history of involvement in international rugby, defeat has been a visitor to the door.
So Scotland won and gained a share in the championship with France. Ireland lost and take the wooden spoon, yet, in their play the won the crowds’ admiration, their vociferous support and left us considerably encouraged.
When the quarterback style toss into the line-out was the done thing.
Edmund Van Esbeck, writing in the Irish Times said:
Ireland’s total of 26 points was the highest yet recoded against England at any venue by an Irish side.
John Pullin was warm in his tribute to Ireland after the game: “theIrish pack is definitely in the veteran class and tired a little towards the end, but they are still a formidable proposition for any opposition.”
Five new Irish caps, all fine, young, inordinately hairy men, They heaved against the veterns de rugby francais and gritted it out for an historic and most unlikely victory (France 9 Ireland 14).
Paul McWeeney writing in the following Monday’s Irish Times said:
It was a sobering thought before the match, when asked if I had ever seen Ireland win at Colombes, to realise that, in fact, only myself and one or two other of my British press colleagues had ever had the pleasure, nor was I all that optimistic that I would ever see it again.
At the Cardiff Arms Park, Ireland put in an oddly schizophrenic performance but prevailed over Wales.
Edmund Van Esbeck writing (through rose tinted spectacles) in the Irish Times said:
A season that started with such bright promise and hope, but faltered in the midway period has ended in a triumph and triumph this was. Never has the appellation “the fighting Irish” been more appropriately applied to an Ireland rugby team..
..the heart of Irish rugby still beats with strong rhythm. It was a great day for the fighting Irish last Saturday.